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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

And the hits keep coming

Images like the one above dominated the NFL this past weekend and its not topic that will be going away anytime soon. Just look at all the marquee names of players this year that have suffered at least one concussion, you could almost field a team: Desean Jackson, Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers, Stewart Bradley, Dunta Robinson, David Garrard, Todd Heap, Kevin Kolb and more than I can name. A recent study from CBCsports.com says that 61% of former NFL players have professed to having a concussion in their playing days. That is a staggering amount of concussions and a disturbing trend in the league. Now that players are bigger and faster than ever before, the number will clearly continue to go up. My question is who is to blame or better yet should we be blaming anyone for the hits being delivered on the field?

I know most people love to see the big hit. We all jump on the couch, knock food out of friends hand, and twitter, facebook and text everybody to make sure they saw the punishment that was just delivered on the receiver going over the middle. Its just a part of the game and to me one of the best parts of it. What is crazy about this is how at a young age a football player is told to hit the other player as hard as he can. I can remember playing as a child and my coach telling me I better hit my opponent before he hits me. I also remember other players mothers and fathers screaming and telling us to knock their heads off. So its just built into the culture of football for players to hit first and ask questions later. Football is a contact, collision sport. Players are going to get hurt. The issue is when the players becomes in danger and some of the hits are getting to the point where one these guys could get killed on the field.  Dunta Robinson and Desean Jackson suffered concussions on the same play when Robinson came crashing in to knock the ball out of Jackson's hand. And to me that was a  perfectly legal hit, Robinson lead with his shoulder and not his helmet it was just so vicious that it looked dirty. A lot of people are discussing maybe the helmets need to be changed because of the way they are being used and also commonly being knocked off but I don't buy that argument.

In summarizing, The NFL player is bigger and stronger than ever before and concussions just like every other injury in the league will continue to go up.We can expect a marquee player going down each week with a concussion, it shouldn't even surprise people at this point. We the fans lusting for the big hit and the NFL with its lust for ratings and lucrative money contracts are to blame. The culture of hitting the opponent and hitting him hard has and always will be taught in all levels of football. If we the fans and the NFL are to blame for this, then just who will step and try to curb the physicality?

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